Tag Archives: pablo mari

Do Arsenal risk squad disharmony with 8 potential “new signings”

“8 new signings” would be crazy turnover for a single summer. Nearly 1 third of the squad. But having been sensible in January, this is the situation Arsenal could be in this summer.

If all goes well, Arsenal could add Gabriel, Thomas Partey, Dani Ceballos & Amadou Diawara to the confirmed summer signings of Willian, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares.

Add in William Saliba and that will be 7 new signings this summer, and an 8th player signed last season but was left parked at his old club for a season.

Usually this amount of turnover would take 6 months for players to settle and gel. But Arsenal’s forward planning means it is a doable transfer window.

Cedric Soares

Joining in January on loan, Arsenal quickly snapped Portuguese right back on a free transfer once his contract at Southampton had expired.

He has already been at the club for nearly 7 months, training with team mates. With 5 appearances in the bag for Arsenal and 120 Premier League appearances under his belt for Southampton, he will not take any settling down what so ever.

Pablo Mari

Like Cedric Soares, Pablo Mari joined Arsenal on loan in January before a deal was completed in June.

Due to injury, he has played just 3 games for Arsenal in the 7 months he has been at the club.

But that 7 months takes out the usual half year a player takes to settle.

When he returns to full training, he will not require any integrating into the squad.

Willian

339 games for Chelsea, 234 in the Premier League. The only thing Willian will need is how much further London Colney is round the M25 from Cobham. About 45 miles.

He might not have played for Arsenal previously, but there will not be too many players who have played more Premier League games than him next season.

Dani Ceballos

Hopefully we get a deal over the line for Dani Ceballos – whether it is a permanent deal or another loan deal.

Having now played 36 games for Arsenal, the axis of Ceballos and Granit Xhaka was a key reason Arsenal won the FA Cup.

He might be a “new signing” this summer, but he will not be a new face at the training ground.

William Saliba

Opposite to Dani Ceballos is William Saliba.

He signed permanently last summer, but then spent the season on loan at St Etienne

Saliba will take some time to settle, which is why it is important that club kept David Luiz.

Gabriel

Not yet done but Arsenal are hopefully of getting the deal over the line.

Gabriel will be in the same boat as William Saliba. A new face in the training ground.

David Luiz will be key helping Gabriel and Saliba settle.

Thomas Partey

Atletico Madrid midfielder would be a big coup for Arsenal. He will be another new face.

Amadou Diaware

Likewise Diawara will be a new face.


So Arsenal could make 7 new signings this summer, with William Saliba being an 8th new player. Yet of the 8, only 5 would have not yet played for Arsenal and be a new face in the training ground, and of those 5, 4 come with no Premier League experience.

I would usually worry about so many new signings. But with half of them now being new faces, Arsenal would have improved the squad without too much disruption.

We just then need to lose half dozen players (Sokratis, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland Niles, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torerria, Alex Lacazette) to make space for them.

Onwards and upwards.

Keenos

The 5 players Arsenal need to sign this summer

Cedric Soares

Arsenal took Southampton right back on loan in January.

He arrived with an injury and then the Covid19 suspension hit meaning he has yet to play a game for the club.

Available for free in the summer, Arsenal would do well to secure his services on a 3-year contract.

Capped 33 times by Portugal, Soares was part of the team that won Euro 2016.

The experienced right back has spent 5 years on the South-Coast, playing 138 games. He has experience, and more importantly Premier League experience.

Some are calling for us to sign Max Aarons – but at £30million it would be a misappropriate use of funds when he would not be first choice.

Soares would be solid cover for Hector Bellerin.

Pablo Mari

Like Soares, Pablo Mari is also on loan. Like Soares, Arsenal should make the deal permanent.

Arsenal are currently overloaded with central defenders. Before even signing Mari, we have 7 at the club (David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, William Saliba, Konstantinos Mavropanos).

Signing Mari would take it up to 8, but then the challenge would be to sell or loan out at least 3.

Two of David Luiz, Mustafi and Sokratis should be moved on. Mari is better than the later 2.

Time is also running out for Calum Chambers and Rob Holding.

Both Englishmen have stagnated at Arsenal and unlikely ever be good enough. Neither are young enough to be considered as “having potential”.

Mavropanos has been linked away from the club in recent days. A loan deal for a season would make a lot of sense.

Whilst plenty are linking us to the likes of Dayot Upamecano, we do not have the finances to make many big money signings.

Available for as little as £7million, Mari would add balance to the defence and replace the experience we would lose in Sokratis and Mustafi. He is an organiser and leader of the defence.

Ideally, we should go into next season with Luiz, Mari, Holding / Chambers and Saliba; with either Dan Ballard or Zech Medley as 5th choice.

Thomas Partey

If Arsenal make one big money signing this summer, it needs to be Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.

For years, Arsenal have lacked power in the middle of the park for nearly a decade. You have to go back to Abou Diaby for the last time we had midfielder powerhouse; capable of physically destroying an opposing midfield, whilst also having the power and pose to drive forward with the ball.

Calling Partey a defensive midfielder is a disservice to him. Like Patrick Vieira, Yaya Toure and Diaby, he is much more than someone who simple wins the ball and passes it on (think Claude Makelele or Gilberto Silva).

He is the type of midfielder that dominates the game, dictates it with his physicality.

The 27-year-old Ghanaian midfielder is at his peak and would transform Arsenal.

Orkun Kokcu

Dutch-born Turkish youth international Orkun Kocku is one of the biggest prospects in the Dutch top-flight at the moment.

It was reported recently that Arsenal’s technical director Edu is a huge fan of the midfielder and wants to bring him to the Emirates this summer.

With Mesut Ozil set to leave the club on a free transfer in the summer, Arsenal should recruit his replacement this summer, enabling him to play and train alongside the German, before taking the step up for the 2021/22 season.

Our friends over at GunnersTown have an excellent scouting report on Kokcu.

At just 19-years-old, recruiting him this summer would give him a year to adapt to the Premier League before becoming a first team regular in 2021.

Ryan Fraser

Bukayo Saka is going to be a star. But he is still just 18-years-old.

Saka can not be expected to play 50 games next season, and with Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson the other two “natural” wingers at the club, we are one short.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs to play down the middle next season, with Gabrial Martinelli backing him up (if Alexandre Lacazette leaves). Neither player is really a winger.

Bournemouth winger Fraser is available on a free transfer. The Scot would give Arsenal some Premier League proven experience alongside Saka without breaking the bank.

The pair could share the load on the left hand side, and give Mikel Arteta the option of playing left or right footed players on both wings.


Final Thoughts: The impact of Covid19 is going to impact the finances of all clubs across Europe this summer. We are not going to see too many teams spending big this summer.

Based on reported fees, the above transfers would cost the club in the region of £80million. Once this is amortised for accounting reason, it would increase the clubs outgoings by around £16million a year.

Arsenal would look to raise funds (and make savings in salaries) by moving on Mustafi, Sokratis, Chambers / Holding and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. In the current market, Arsenal would do well to raise £25-30million.

Selling Alexandre Lacazette could double that, freeing up further wages and providing us with some very important cash to complete the transactions.

With tightening finances, Arsenal are going to have promote some youth next season. The likes of Soares, Mari and Fraser will provide experience alongside those youngsters, whilst Kocku would replace on loan Dani Ceballos as the creativity behind Ozil.

Thomas Partey should be the number one target.

Keenos

Signing Pablo Mari keeps door open for Dayot Upamecano bid

The key for Arsenal in January was always to get in reinforcements that did not take funds away from the club signing key targets next summer.

Whilst Pablo Mari would not have been at the top of anyone’s list on New Years Day, there is plenty of logic behind the deal.

I am sure the club would have wanted to go for a long term starter. Dayot Upamecano for example. But are these players available in a January? Probably not.

Arsenal could have gone and spent £20-30m on someone – Jamaal Lascelles or James Tarkowski for example. But these guys are not really good enough in the long term for Arsenal. And £20-30m is a huge lump sum that would restrict what business we could do in the summer. It takes a lot of money out of the pot. Money that we need to buy Upamecano (or whoever).

So we bought in Marí on loan with an option to buy. 5 months wages and a reported £4.5million loan fee, we are not tying too much money in him. The deal leaves us with plenty left in the pot to launch a bid for a top class central defender in the summer.

The Cedric Soares deal from Southampton is similar.

The Portuguese right back is a very good player. A couple of years ago he was regarded as one of the best right backs in the league. A falling out at Southampton led him to join Inter Milan on loan for 6 months, but is back as 1st choice right back with the south-coast side this season.

28-years-old and with over 100 Premier League games under his belt, Cedric will provide good cover for Hector Bellerin.

Available on a free at the end of the season, Arsenal are reportedly set to take Cedric on loan, with the club having agreed with his people they get 1st option to sign him at the end of the season if they wish.

Cedric coming in would also reinforce the middle of the park as it means Ainsley Maitland-Niles can return to his favoured position, rather than being emergency right back cover; meaning that Arsenal do not need to go out and buy a midfield reinforcement in January.

Like at centre back, not spending £20-30m on a central midfielder that the club do not really see as a long term option in January ensures our funds remain strong for a summer assault on someone who we actually want.

We could have easily gone out and spent £40-60m on a new central defender and new central midfielder. This would have kept some fans happy. But if they were not players Edu, Mikel Arteta, etc saw as being long term solutions, it would just be flushing money down the drain. It would restrict what business we could do in the summer.

By bringing in Mari and potentially Cedric, the impact on Arsenal’s summer transfer budget is negligible. They are cheap, smart moves.

The success of this window will be judged by who we sign in the summer.

If we go out and sign (for example) Upamecano, Wilfred Ndidi and Leroy Sane, it will be down to us not over spending in January.

In football, you always need to keep an eye on the long term. Plan for the future, not just tomorrow.